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Incarnate Word Cardinals

The Incarnate Word Cardinals football team represents the University of the Incarnate Word in NCAA Division I football.

Team History

The Incarnate Word Cardinals football program represents the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio, Texas. The program has a relatively short but eventful history. While the university itself was founded in 1881, the Cardinals football program didn’t begin until 2009.

The Cardinals have seen rapid ascension through the ranks of college football. They’ve steadily progressed from competing as an independent at the start, progressing to NCAA Division II, then finally to NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). This makes them one of the youngest programs in NCAA Division I football.

Foundation and Early Years

The creation of the Incarnate Word Cardinals football program was initiated in 2008. The Cardinals competed as an independent program during their first season in 2009. Despite their newcomer status, they finished their inaugural season with an impressive 6-4 record.

The following year, the Cardinals joined the Lone Star Conference (LSC) within NCAA Division II. In their first season within the LSC, the Cardinals again surprised observers by achieving a winning record of 6-5.

Notable Early Achievements

The Incarnate Word Cardinals quickly established themselves within the Lone Star Conference, rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with. In 2011, they made their first appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Cardinals’ playoff run was short-lived that year, but it cemented their status as a rising program.

The team’s upward trajectory continued in 2012, when they earned their first Lone Star Conference Co-Championship title. This marked a significant milestone for the young program.

Periods of Change

The Cardinals made a major transition in 2013 when they announced their move to NCAA Division I. They began competing within the Southland Conference that same year. Initially, they were not eligible for postseason play, a common condition for programs transitioning to Division I.

Despite the challenges of this transitional phase, the Cardinals continued to demonstrate their competitive spirit. In 2018, they achieved full eligibility for postseason competition. They immediately seized upon this opportunity, making their first Southland Conference championship game appearance.

Championships and Achievements

The Incarnate Word Cardinals clinched their first outright Southland Conference championship title in 2021. This victory served as a testament to their growth and dedication since their inception. The Cardinals again took the Southland Conference title in 2022, further solidifying their reputation as a dominant program.

The Cardinals have participated in the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs on multiple occasions. While they have yet to win a national championship, their consistent postseason appearances and conference titles showcase their remarkable rise as a Division I program.

Management and Coaching Staff

The Incarnate Word Cardinals are led by Head Coach G.J. Kinne. Kinne, a former standout quarterback who played professionally, has infused the program with energy and a dynamic offensive approach since taking the helm in 2015. The rest of the Cardinals coaching staff consists of experienced individuals with diverse backgrounds in college and professional football.

Home Stadium Information

The Incarnate Word Cardinals play their home games at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium. The stadium, opened in 2008, has a capacity of 6,000 which makes it one of the smaller stadiums in FCS football. The intimate setting creates an electric atmosphere for fans.

The stadium is situated on the beautiful UIW campus in San Antonio. In recent years, there have been talks and proposals about potential upgrades and expansions to the stadium to help accommodate the program’s growing success.

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